Due to spending 10 hours driving home yesterday, I didn’t have the chance to prep my recipe. I’m sharing a Smith Rock State Park and a Total Solar Eclipse post today and a new delicious recipe on Friday!
You guys, OMG. As I sit here writing this post, I struggle to find the words which accurately describe this past weekend. Words like amazing, incredible, or epic don’t do what we experienced, justice. We hiked the incredibly gorgeous Smith Rock State Park and witnessed a celestial phenomenon. We laughed with great people, dined on amazing food, and slept under the stars.
First things first, the backstory:
Our dog, Homie Barkybottoms, gets the credit for making this past weekend possible. We were returning from a walk when I noticed a neighbor I hadn’t met before doing work in her front yard with her black lab, Otto. I stopped to introduce myself so our dogs could meet. My neighbor was a sweetheart. She invited Homie and me into her backyard so we could talk and the dogs could socialize. Soon after that, we started to invite each other to our houses to hang out.
One night in July, we invited our neighbor and her husband over to watch Game Of Thrones. During that visit, they asked what we had planned for the total solar eclipse. Kieran and I wanted to see the eclipse but didn’t know where to view it. Our neighbors smiled and asked if we wanted to join them. Their family had property in Madras, Oregon which was smack dab in the middle of the Path of Totality. They invited us to camp in their backyard so we could witness the astronomical event. We immediately said yes.
If it wasn’t for Homie, who knows how long it would have taken us to meet our awesome neighbors. We may not have met them on time to go on this trip. Good girl, Homie. Good girl!
Smith Rock State Park
We arrived in Madras around 6 pm on Saturday, August 19th. Our neighbor’s family welcomed us with open arms. As we sat around eating dinner, I asked what everyone was up to the following day. A good portion of the group wanted to go fishing. I’m not big on fishing so I asked for a good spot to hike. That’s when Kieran and I discovered we were only 30 minutes from Smith Rock State Park.
You guys, we wanted to hike Smith Rock the moment we found out about the park 2 years ago. Smith Rock is one of seven natural wonders of Oregon. There was no way in hell we would miss the opportunity to see the park, especially since we were so close! The following day we gathered our day packs, water, and lunch and set out to see the park for ourselves.
At the base of Smith Rock, you’re greeted with jagged spires made from volcanic ash that loom 3,000 feet above your head. Words nor a photo truly capture its awe-inspiring beauty.
Smith Rock State Park is a rock climbers Disneyland. The park boasts thousands of routes climbers can scale. Kieran and I chose to hike along the river that cuts through the canyon, however, there is an abundance of trails to chose from. As we hoofed it down the trail we kept saying to each other, I can’t believe we’re actually here. We knew the total solar eclipse was going to be spectacular but being able to couple that with Smith Rock, a park we have been dying to hike, made this trip extra special.
After a fun day of hiking, we drove to town so we could relax over a few cocktails. I was feeling exceptionally social so I chatted up the locals when ordering drinks at the bar. When I returned with our drinks, Kieran beamed at me with a glisten in his eyes. He told me he loved me and how fortunate he felt, living the life we did. In all honesty, I felt emotional too. Kieran and I embraced, exchanged I love yous, talked about how lucky we are, then smiled knowingly at each other because our adventures are just getting started.
The Total Solar Eclipse
I’m sure some of you are getting sick of hearing about the total solar eclipse. However, if any of you were lucky enough to see it, you know exactly why people can’t stop talking about it. It was legitimately an experience I will never forget.
Around 8:30 am on Monday morning, we were up drinking coffee and eating breakfast. The energy among our group was contagious, each of us getting giddier by the minute. I swear we listened to Total Eclipse Of The Heart on repeat. We laughed and lip synced and danced along. Kieran finally had the chance to wear his Threadless Eclipse T-shirt.
About 10 minutes before the total solar eclipse there was a noticeable change in the weather, it became cooler, quickly. We also noticed a change in light. The tents and trees in the backyard suddenly snapped into sharp focus, casting strange looking shadows. The dimming light made everything look off. Soon after the chickens started returning to their resting boxes as if it was night fall.
All of a sudden the lights went out and we erupted with cheers. Most of the guests at this gathering had dogs who were nervously running around. Homie put her tail between her legs and ran up to me and Kieran for comfort, not knowing what was happening.
Take off your glasses, someone screamed. Simultaneously we ripped off our protective eyewear and looked at the sun. The sight of our sun behind the moon was unbelievable. A black hole now covered where our sun once shone. Long wisps of silky white light emanated behind the black hole. Scientist David Baron said it best when he described the eclipse as a shimmering wreath woven from silver thread.
The colors of the sky were nothing I’ve observed before. The horizon was orange in every direction and above the horizon, the sky was a purple gray – like twilight. A few seconds after it got dark the stars and planets came out. We could see Mars and Mercury with the naked eye.
It’s almost impossible to describe how powerful and raw that moment felt in my life. David Baron said he felt a visceral connection to the universe after seeing a total solar eclipse for the first time. I don’t speak as eloquently as David, but I can relate to his experience. Not only did I feel a strong connection to our universe but a strong connection with the other spectators as well. We looked at each other, grinning, emotional, and dumbstruck, our ordeal forever bonding us. We were all going through this one of a kind experience, together.
Suddenly light poured down on us as the eclipse abruptly ended. The sky returned to its natural blue color and the temperature quickly rose. Just like that, the eclipse was over.
We packed up our car and said our goodbyes. We profusely thanked our neighbors and their family for inviting and hosting us. I feel so fortunate we have the coolest neighbors that we get to call our friends.
We capped off our Smith Rock State Park and a Total Solar Eclipse weekend by getting stuck in 10 hours of traffic on the way home. You don’t understand, Madras, Oregon is only 2 hours from our house. A 2-hour drive turned into 10 hours because so many people visited the town to watch the eclipse. Everyone told us to leave on Tuesday but we didn’t listen. I texted our friends and told them we made a huge mistake. The bulk of the gridlock happened in the town of Madras. It took us 4 hours to travel 4 miles. Ugh, it was so fucking painful. But, we are home, we are safe, and we are happy.
Did you see the eclipse? Tell me all about it below!
Do you want to experience a total solar eclipse? I have good news for you. Over the next 35 years, 5 total solar eclipses will visit the United States and 3 of them will be especially grand. The total solar eclipse I got to be apart of is 1 of the 3.
On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will span from Texas to Maine. Then, on Aug. 12, 2045, a solar eclipse path will cut from California to Florida.
I’m going to end this post with additional words from David Baron who is now an eclipse evangelist. He says, “Before you die, you owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse. It is the ultimate experience of awe.”
Thanks for stopping by,